Economy & Business

Business news

With NBA picks, data can only take you so far

Jun 20, 2018

The NBA draft takes place tomorrow in Brooklyn, when teams make big bets on young players, hoping they might been the next LeBron James or Steph Curry, that once-in-a-generation player who can transform a team's fortunes. But these players are notoriously risky investments.

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Seated in the Oval Office on Wednesday, flanked by his vice president and secretary of homeland security, President Trump walked back an administration practice that has separated more than 2,300 children from their parents along the border.

The Plight Of The Living Dead

Jun 20, 2018

For the U.S. government, keeping track of who's alive and who's not is important. There are after all a lot of benefits associated with being alive — Medicare, Social Security benefits, voting. But the system for confirming who's actually dead is far from foolproof.

How a red-hot housing market made Zillow a media company

Jun 20, 2018

A few years before the financial crisis hit, Spencer Rascoff was among the entrepreneurs who started a new website devoted to real estate. They named it Zillow, and it was meant to hold all the data and information consumers needed to buy and sell their homes. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked to Rascoff, who is now CEO, about the years the company's spent collecting data as home values crashed, recovered and are now skyrocketing. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Senators lashed out today over the Trump administration's tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross fielded complaints from Democrats and Republicans about lost jobs and damage to U.S. companies. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

Ireland is famous for its hospitality, offering visitors an abundance of “craic,” or fun.

And that warmest of warm welcomes has been extended to embrace foreign corporations, too. If they set up in Ireland, they get to pay one of the lowest rates of corporate tax in the European Union: 12.5 percent compared with the recently reduced rate of 21 percent in the United States. There are numerous, generous tax breaks in the Emerald Isle as well.

Let's do the Zestimate

Jun 20, 2018

If you've been listening the past few weeks, you know the federal government is working on a list of companies to exclude from new, costly tariffs on steel and aluminum. During testimony today about that list, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross promised one senator that he’d personally consider a company residing in the senator's district. Ross called the place right after the hearing, and we did, too. Then: Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon have tapped surgeon and writer Atul Gawande to run their new health care company.

Surgeon, author and checklist-evangelist Atul Gawande has been picked to lead the health care venture formed by online giant Amazon, conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway and banking juggernaut JPMorgan.

It's an interesting choice.

Gawande, a general and endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, is probably best known for his work writing about health care for The New Yorker and in books that include the influential Checklist Manifesto.

Even the markets care about sound bites

Jun 20, 2018

(Markets Edition) From a markets perspective, we're in a lull right now. No data releases, no big announcements from the Fed. But they will be looking out for soundbites, especially around trade, according to Westwood Holdings Group's Susan Schmidt. We'll hear from her about how all this tariff talk could *eventually* cause concern to creep into the markets. Afterwards, we'll discuss a new technology that'll help preserve avocados, and then we'll chat with the Economist's Natasha Loder about why automation doesn't necessarily spell doom for radiologists.

Spencer Rascoff has been at Zillow, the company familiar to many a person searching for a home or apartment, pretty much from the beginning. Since 2005, he's weathered the housing crisis and another housing boom. And as CEO, he's leading the real estate/tech/data company into a new market: buying and selling its own homes. He talked with us about where the housing market's been and where it's going. 

Holy guacamole! That avocado could last four weeks.

Jun 20, 2018

Giving a whole new meaning to shelf life, avocados wearing a life-extending plant-based coating debut this week on U.S. grocery shelves. It’s one of the first products to potentially help cut down the billions of dollars in food waste each year in the United States.

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The facilities that are housing children separated from their parents

Jun 20, 2018

Who's getting paid to carry out the Trump administration's policy of separating children?

In March, the Trump administration ordered prosecutors to charge people illegally crossing the border and separate children traveling with their parents. Marketplace's Andy Uhler looked at the money that flows into the facilities housing these children, starting with a firm called Southwest Key. Below is an edited transcript. 

David Brancaccio: Tell me more about this company. How did this nonprofit grow to be such a key player in this industry?

(U.S. Edition) We're looking into who's getting paid to carry out the Trump administration's policy of separating children at the U.S. border. One of the principal firms: Southwest Key. Afterwards, we'll discuss what to expect from today's Senate testimony with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who's likely to get an earful on tariffs, and then we'll talk about a new "life-extending" coating for avocados.